Why Kermit the Frog memes are so popular, according to science

This is a photo of Kermit the Frog

Memes using Kermit the Frog seem to be taking over social media.

Whether it's sarcasm, awkward social encounters or just having a dig at your loved one - there's one for everyone.

The green puppet started life on children's TV in the 1950s.

So why, more than half a century later, has Kermit become so popular?

We spoke to Shoshana Weissmann an expert in semiotics (the study of signs) and Don Caldwell, a curator at internet meme database knowyourmeme.com, to find out.

Most memes are here today and gone tomorrow - but Shoshana told Newsbeat that the most viral memes stick to a three step blueprint.

They're cheeky, they're funny and they're relatable.

"The message [of the meme] should generally be cheeky, funny and easy to understand," she tells Newsbeat.

"You can create a great meme, but if the people you're trying to reach can't make sense of it, you're not doing much good.

"Most memes don't have much longevity because they latch on to topics on the internet that rise and fall very quickly."

So, why have Kermit the Frog memes stood the test of time?

According to both experts we spoke to, the green frog's success stems from his familiarity as a childhood favourite.

It really is that simple.

Kermit was one of the original characters on Disney's Sesame Street and one of the stars of the Muppet Show.

But his online popularity began on Instagram and Twitter in 2014 with this meme.

Known as the 'but that's none of my business' meme, images or Kermit drinking tea or milk were used to show questionable behaviour.

"Memes like that [Kermit], Willy Wonka and Arthur just resonate widely. Everyone knows what they are and why they're funny," says Shoshana.

"He is an incredibly recognizable and lovable character, so people feel comfortable using him to signal things about their identity," Don added.

Kermit may have started the trend but other childhood characters and animations have followed since.

"Because these all are either widely known or need no context, they can fit into many scenarios and have long lives," adds the sign expert.

And in 2015 Kermit showed just how many day-to-day scenarios he can fit into with this meme.

Don Caldwell told us that this untitled meme appeals to most people because it shows the awkward social encounters we can all relate to.

In 2016 it seemed as though Kermit was taking a hiatus but in recent months he's resurfaced as the face of this meme.

Dubbed as evil Kermit - the meme shows the internal battles we all have but would never admit to.

If you want to have a go at starting the next wave of Kermit memes - Don Caldwell gave us a word of advice.

"Caption his image with a new clever joke or some other type of relatable commentary and it can keep going indefinitely."

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